How to use Vitamin C for Skin Whitening 

Vitamin C for Skin Brightening - Get the Facts First:

If you’re interested in trying crushed vitamin C tablets, capsules powders or creams to lighten or fade dark sun spots and blotches, there are a few things you need to know for best results. 

by Linda Robison

Vitamin C for skin whitening

While taking vitamin C supplements or eating vitamin C rich foods is always a good idea – this article discusses the use of topical vitamin C serums or creams to improve skin tone and lighten or whiten dark spots and discoloration.

Applying pure vitamin C topically to the skin can help suppress skin pigmentation, which can help make skin brighter.

But whether you plan on purchasing vitamin C serums and creams or making your own by crushing vitamin C tablets…

Here are a few facts to consider:

Vitamin C skin whitening tips

  • What type of vitamin C is best? L-Ascorbic Acid will penetrate the skin the best. Non-acidic or neutralized forms of vitamin C can't penetrate well and, therefore, won't lighten the skin.
  • Potency is important. In order for a vitamin C skin care product to effectively lighten and penetrate the skin, it needs to be potent. It should have a concentration of around 15-20%. 
  • Freshness counts. While ascorbic acid is considered one of the best forms of vitamin C for skin care – ascorbic acid is very unstable, which means it loses its potency quickly and therefore has a short shelf life.  Over time, it oxidizes, which is not good for the skin. So it's best to buy or make in small batches and use it within about 30 days.
  • Know the pH balance of the product. This can have an effect on how much vitamin C actually penetrates the skin. The pH balance should range between 3.5 – 5.5. If the pH is too low, it can irritate the skin. So if you have sensitive skin, keep that in mind when buying or making vitamin C skin care products.
  •  Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! If you really want good results quickly – you need to exfoliate weekly. Exfoliation helps sloth off those darkened and discolored dead skin cells. This will help bring about smoother, clearer results faster.

Here are my before and after skin whitening result using a 16% pH balanced vitamin C serum. It took a few months to fade these sun spots, but it worked.

Before and after neck with sun spots gone after using vitamin C serum. Dark spots and dull skin looks better with vitamin C.

Here is another before and after picture of skin whitening using vitamin C serum. Unfortunately, it was taken with a different camera, so the lighting is different.

But you can see not only are the brown spots lighter, but the neck skin is less saggy and crepey than before.

Vitamin C serum for dull, dry skin

Neck before vitamin C, skin looks dark and dull.

NOTE: You can learn more about how neck exercises helped reduce the deep neck lines and see my before and after pictures.

Another area I saw skin whitening was around my eyes and crow's feet area.

Not only is my skin brighter, but those pesky crow's feet lines are not as deep.

The combination of the C serum and facial exercises helped me achieve these results!

Dark circles and dull skin with crows feet before vitamin C serum.There is at least a 10 yr. difference between the before and after picture. Yet, in the after picture, my skin looks smoother and has better tone than before!

Mix your own vitamin C serum to lighten skin

Can I crush vitamin C powder to mix in my cream for lightening skin? 

Many people assume they can just get vitamin C tablets from the drugstore and crush them up, mix with water, and apply to the face.

There are a few problems with this:

  • 1. Most vitamin C tablets or powders for oral consumption are buffered and/or neutralized with sodium bicarbonate for your stomach protection. This renders the vitamin C useless for skin penetration.
  • 2. Fillers! Most oral vitamin C tablets and powders contain filler like stabilizers, so they can sit on the shelves for years. Who knows what that will do for your skin, or if it makes the ascorbic acid less potent?
  • 3. Potency. How would you gage the potency and pH when you crush vitamin C tablets? Generally, vitamin C tablets were not designed for topical cosmetic use.


I've seen vitamin C powder for cosmetic uses sold on Amazon. I can't attest to how well this works or how safe it is, but if you do try it, use it carefully, follow package directions, and test a small area first. 

If you read the reviews, some people complained of skin burns because they didn't use/mix it properly.

Vitamin C powder on Amazon

Problems with pre-mixed vitamin C products

All the benefits of topical Vitamin C sounds wonderful – right?

However, the problem is finding a Vitamin C cream or serum that is fresh and potent and has NOT been sitting on a store shelf for months or years.

While ascorbic acid is the best type of topical vitamin C, but it’s not very stable once it’s mixed with liquids. That’s why mixing up a fresh batch monthly is your best bet for excellent results.

Buy unmixed vitamin C

I tried making my own vitamin C skin products, but was never sure of the potency or pH balance. Plus, sometimes my concoction seemed to dry my skin.

Now I use CFF pH balanced vitamin C Crystal Serum

Vitamin C powder next to a bottle of vitamin rich serum.

This vitamin C comes in a separate vial that is mixed up fresh at home before using it. It also comes with a richly hydrating serum base loaded with antioxidants to help support younger skin and collagen production.

With this product I'm guaranteed that the pH is properly balanced (between 4.5/5.5) and offers a potent 16% concentration.

This concoction is pretty potent and very rich, so a little goes a long way covering my face and neck area. So one vial will last about 35/40 days. 

NOTE: If you make you own, don’t make too much at one time. After about 35/40 days your Vitamin C serum will start to turn brown.

That means it has oxidized and SHOULD NOT BE APPLIED TO THE SKIN. Throw it out!! And be sure to store it in a dark colored container to prevent oxidation.

Vitamin C benefits for healthy brighter skin

Besides skin whitening and lightening benefits, applying a potent, fresh concoction of vitamin C cream or serum to your skin every day can also help improve its appearance and provide younger looking skin – overtime.

Topical vitamin C products can help reverse, slow down, and even prevent future age-related skin changes such as wrinkling and sagging by promoting collagen production - leading to firmer, more elastic skin.

 Vitamin C can also help guard against sun damage (you still need to wear your sunscreen however), while helping to reduce inflammation and hyperpigmentation.

Note: Did you know, picking out sunscreen isn't just about the UVA/UVB numbers. If you're aiming for top-notch anti-aging defense, keep an eye out for the PA rating, too. PA stands for Protection Grade of UVA, and it's your buddy in the battle against wrinkles and sun damage. 😎

FAQ: Vitamin C Skin Whitening

Q: How long does it take vitamin C to lighten the skin?

A: It usually takes at least 4-6 weeks to see changes. My after pictures of the brown spots on my neck took about 8 weeks. There are a few factors to make the process go faster. 

1. Make sure to exfoliate your skin at least once a week. This helps remove dead, discolored skin cells.

2. Always wear a sunscreen when you're using skin lightening products, and try not to be out in the sun during prime time without a hat or other protection.

3. Be consistent. Use the skin lightening product as directed. On and off usage will not bring the best results.

Q: Which vitamin C is best for skin-lightening?

A: A potent, fresh batch of vitamin C is always your best option. I'm always partial to vitamin C serums. A serum can be easily mixed into your favorite face cream. 

Or look for vitamin C serums that contain lightening agents like alpha arbutin, kojic acid. These ingredients help speed the process along faster.

Q: Can I crush vitamin C tablets to mix my cream for lightening skin?

A: No, crushing vitamin C tablets into powder form to mix into a cream or serum is not a good idea. Vitamin C supplements have additional ingredients or fillers that could potentially cause allergies or skin sensitivities in some individuals. 

Share your experience using Vitamin C for skin whitening

Please share your experience with us. 

If you use vitamin C for skin whitening (whether topical serums or oral supplements) please share your experience with other readers. Because real life experience and Word of mouth experience is powerful! 

Other tips you might enjoy...

Neck Firming Exercises - Don't believe face and neck exercises work? See my before and after pictures.

Is Dermaplaning Good for Your Skin - Steps to get deep exfoliation at-home.

Is Niacinamide Permanent - Are the lightening effects permanent?